Three incentive schemes that anyone looking for work or a workforce should know about

Many growers in the horticultural sectors are wondering if they will have enough workers to meet their needs this year. Will backpacker numbers be down and will their fruit hit the ground unpicked?  

To alleviate this concern, the Australian Government has introduced a number of incentive schemes designed to support employers looking for staff and encourage job seekers into industries which are routinely short staffed, namely horticulture, tourism and hospitality. 

Seasonal Worker Programme 

Horticulture and the agriculture sectors are benefiting from the Seasonal Worker Programme, a scheme designed to help ensure Australian employers have access to a reliable and returning seasonal workforce during peak times.  

Many thousands of workers from Pacific Island countries and Timor-Leste have come and benefited from the opportunity and positive experience working in Australia. For growers, once workers have been trained, half the job is done. Applying for the programme can be time consuming and with costs, but the positives are definitely there when the same workers return next year. 

This scheme has now been extended to Australia’s tourism and hospitality sector, which currently has an estimated 37,000 unfilled vacancies and is forecast to require an additional 123,000 new workers by 2020. For Northern Australia in particular, the Seasonal Worker Programme is highly beneficial as it helps ensure access to a workforce to provide the quality of services that visitors to Australia expect. 

But what about Northern Territory job seekers specifically? How can we help them gain skills and experience to get a new job? The following incentives are now available to benefit both local job seekers and employers. 

Youth Jobs PaTH 

The Youth Jobs PaTH scheme is designed to support young people to gain the skills and work experience they need to get and keep a job. It also supports employers to host internship placements and provide them with incentives when they take on a young person. 

Job seekers are provided with employability skills training to prepare them to meet the expectations of employers. Employers can then trial a young person for between 4-12 weeks to see how they fit into the team and if they are suitable for ongoing employment. 

Interns are unpaid by the business and receive a fortnightly incentive from the government. The business receives an upfront payment of $1,000 in recognition of the costs of hosting the internship. All insurances are paid, and the employer receives financial incentives of up to $10,000 (GST inclusive) paid over six months for hiring an eligible young job seeker.  

Seasonal Worker Incentives Trial 

The Seasonal Worker Incentives Trial is for job seekers and growers in the horticultural industry who are in need of short term labour during peak times, particularly during harvest. 

Starting on 1 July 2017, this scheme encourages job seekers to take up short-term placements of six weeks by providing them with an opportunity to earn additional income, without affecting their income support payments. 

This is a way for jobseekers to connect with local farmers and to try a new style of employment. Many will have transferable skills and the hope is that some will want to stay in the industry. 

This will be managed by jobactive, Transition to Work and Disability Employment Service providers who will work with local growers to match eligible job seekers with their labour needs. 

Support from ISACNT

As leaders in industry skills advice, ISACNT can provide guidance to growers so that they can develop the workforce they require to get through peak times. Contact us for more information.